Unreal Engine 5

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Unreal Engine 5 walkthrough.[1]

Lumen has done a great job in really bringing to to life this area. As you can see, there's light bouncing off of the surfaces and casting into the rest of the cave... I love how you can also see the detail in the costume and the cloth that we have now.[1]Steven Sharif


Unreal Engine 5 is the graphical engine for Ashes of Creation.[1][2] The game was originally developed in Unreal Engine 4.[3] Migrating to UE5 early is expected to save time the long run compared to upgrading closer to release, or post-release.[4][5]

What it provides in my opinion as person who enjoys PvP is it adds additional dynamics to what is possible from your opponent or from yourself. You know, if there is a ledge and jumping off that ledge is going to deal a lot of damage to me when I hit the ground and that puts me at a significant disadvantage, maybe I have an option to jump off the ledge at a point where I can mantle onto the side of a cliff or something. Now the give and take there is I won't be able to use my skills while I'm mantled. I won't be able to react easily, but I didn't have to take the fall damage per-se. Or if there's an obstruction and I'm going to take a significant reduction in speed so that I can crouch and make it past that, and now I have a effective line of sight has been obstructed as a result of that decision. I think it adds interesting elements to the battlefield and the key here is going to be making sure that it's not cumbersome- that it doesn't feel opposite of the flow of combat.[8]Steven Sharif
Lumen is going to greatly improve the visual fidelity and performance of the game with the reduced work and effort that's required by the art team, making Ashes of Creation much more beautiful than in UE4.[10]Steven Sharif
Nanite brings us really an entirely new approach to rendering and art workflows. Now we can render more actors with extremely high detail while eliminating the need to bake out normal map textures. For artists essentially what this means is that they can import high quality sculpted meshes directly into Unreal 5 without really having to reduce the poly count, making the workflow more efficient while simultaneously improving the quality of the art.[13]Steven Sharif
  • Features (such as World partitions and One file per actor) make it much easier for multiple developers to work together.[4]
    • World partitions also enable Unreal Engine 5 maps to exceed the map size constraints of UE4 (~20 kilometers squared).[4]
Q: How does this upgrade to UE5 affect the Ashes of Creation release timeline?[4]
A: While UE4 is a great engine, there are certain focuses and technological endeavors that Epic is doing on UE5 that won't necessarily be supported by UE4; and we want to make sure given the lifespan of Ashes and how long we intend this MMO to last, that when we made this decision early on during the development process that we weren't going to exacerbate the amount of effort it would take to move over later in the lifespan or after launch.[4]Steven Sharif
  • As of January 24, 2022 all teams have moved over to Unreal Engine 5.[17]
    • The developers were able to transition to Unreal Engine 5.1.1 in February 2023 as part of milestone 4.[18][19][20]
    • The upgrade to Unreal Engine 5.2 was completed. The developers expect to start upgrading to 5.3 around the end of 2023.[21][22]
    • At some point the developers intend to stop updating Unreal Engine until post-launch. This decision will be based on careful consideration of potential delays and other risks.[23]
Q: What is your stance in regards to focusing on delivering an MVP versus continuously upgrading your tools and engine to deliver a better product with new tech, even if that results in delays or additional years of development like UE 5.2, maybe 5.3 etc?
A: Our technical teams, especially our network team, our ICS teams, our gameplay engineering teams, they convene and weigh when our next update should be on the engine side: What new technologies might bring benefit overall. My perspective on how we balance the need for integration of new technology versus the responsibility we have in a timely manner to provide testing sessions that get us closer to the launch date; that's a delicate balance. I would say generally our disposition is not to incorporate new technologies that yield some significant amount of delay on the development side. We very much take the perspective that we're capable of adjusting and/or integrating those new technologies post-milestone, post-launch if necessary. At some point we'll stop updating the Unreal Engine in development until launch. That point hasn't come yet, but of course the larger the project grows and on the more custom we make the engine for our back-end needs; and for whatever else merge conflicts can occur- those mergers can become big and painful; and the update process gets more painful. So to answer your question shortly, we have a team that evaluates what direction we need to take there; and at the top of my mind is always, let's not incorporate delays as a result of leveraging new technologies.[23]Steven Sharif

Custom network layer

Ashes of Creation features a custom network back-end with proprietary Unreal Engine networking code to enable mass combat in the open world: such as PvP, Node sieges, Castle sieges, Dungeons and World bosses.[14][15]

Player density is a very important aspect of our custom network layer. Zach and his team have been doing an incredible job of creating a unique network layer that we utilize in Ashes of Creation to facilitate, not just the player density goals, but also the open-world and seamless travel across that world. There's a number of different strategies that we employ when architecting the network layer. Some of those things have to do with the significance of replicated data that the player is receiving as the density gets higher. We mitigate calls and reduce the significance distance- the net relevancy distance. We keep things specifically that need to be known for the player directionality, which direction they're facing. Those are the most pertinent data that we transfer- that we transmit to the player character. So there's a lot of different strategies. It's a relatively complex system but our goal is to satisfy hundreds of players available within a given area; and certain events, especially castle sieges, caravans are one of those types of events, and our architecture facilitates that.[16]Steven Sharif
  • The networking solution dynamically distributes processes and scales up necessary server instances to accommodate player density across the world.[14][25]


Performance optimization when rendering 1300 simulated actors utilizing merged materials and meshes in Unreal Engine 5 Nanite.[26] This test was confirmed post-stream to be running on a RTX 3070.[27]

What you're seeing here showcases the new modular appearance component which can combine any set of meshes and materials into a single mesh and single material at run-time. What you're looking at is over 1300 different entities, different actors. These are simulated players essentially. Previously you saw the example they were just standing still. There was no animation, there was no effects, there was no environment and it was a thousand. This is thirteen hundred playing animations, playing effects, plus the environment which is Nanite in this example. So what you're seeing is all of these players moving around and doing something and you're seeing the frame rate at about 30 on Clayton's rig.[28]Steven Sharif

Here you see that the FPS in the top right corner is like seven or eight on average, so not too good from a rendering perspective... So by merging now you can see that the same thousand players who are wearing the same armors as previously are actually having a 300 percent increase- 300 to 400 increase- in the performance of the of the FPS. So it went from 7 to about 21 on average and that is a significant optimization point that obviously this is just the beginning of the optimization efforts.[29]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation was performing at 50-60 FPS on a 1080 Ti during early Alpha-1 testing.[30]

  • A "default player appearance" may be automatically applied during sieges or other large scale battles to improve client-side performance.[34][35][33]
I think you guys will agree with me here that effects now are, as opposed to where they were in Alpha-1, we've taken into account what people's feedback were, although it was always the case we were going to address them; and we've implemented them in such a way where they're more conducive to large player battles.[31]Steven Sharif

Alpha system requirements

Alpha-1 stress testing, March 17, 2021.[36]

These are fully operational NPCs. They have behavior trees, they have AI blackboards; they are functioning as an NPC would; and to my surprise, to everyone's surprise actually, the server handled it quite well: 5000 entities all within a very dense area.[37]Steven Sharif

Minimum and recommended computer specifications for Alpha-2.[38]

Minimum Specs - 1080p
  • Processor: Intel i5 8400 | AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • Memory: 12GB
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1070 or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 100GB SSD Storage
  • Windows 10/11
Recommend Specs - 1440p
  • Processor: Intel i7 8700 | AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • Memory: 16GB
  • Graphics: NVIDIA RTX 3070 or equivalent
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 100GB SSD Storage
  • Windows 10/11
Please note that these requirements will change throughout our testing phases.[38]


Ashes of Creation will be released on the Windows PC platform.[39][40]

Q: Will the upgrade to UE5 affect the supported systems? A lot of people are like linux question mark.[39]
A: It's something that we'll evaluate in the future. I haven't ruled it out necessarily- would see how much work it would take to do that, but really like less than one percent of the player base is using Linux.[39]Steven Sharif

Landform tool

Landform tool demonstration.[42]

It's exciting seeing our artists react to this tool's availability now as part of their workflow and replacing, as you guys described, that external sculpting software like Zbrush or or Maya and creating really high resolution geometry to break it down in this- making it usable essentially in the actual engine itself.[42]Steven Sharif

Landform is a tool developed by Intrepid Studios that enables in-engine sculpting and texture blending within Unreal Engine 5.[42]

Character creator

Scars in the Alpha-2 character creator (first pass).[43]

The cool thing about this character creator is that it's not just intended for your character. It has application with NPCs that you might hire.[44]Steven Sharif

We're gonna use similar tech for implementing things like Animal husbandry.[45]Zachary Mallet

Kaelar Alpha-2 character creation (first pass).[46]

This tech is 100% created in-house at Intrepid and is not metahuman.[47]Steven Sharif

We'll be adding many, many more customization options to the character creator.[48]Cody Peterson

The character creator (or character customization system) allows players to define the look of their in-game characters, hired NPCs; and potentially creatures raised by the animal husbandry profession.[44][49]

The Ashes of Creation character creator is 100% developed in-house by Intrepid Studios and is not MetaHuman.[47]

Additional character creator features include.

  • There will be unlockable features for character customization.[53]
You have that scar because you participated in this siege, or these many sieges; or you have this tattoo because of your of a cultural background, or because of a quest that was accomplished where you're able to get that.[53]Steven Sharif
  • The ability to save and potentially to share characters with other players.[43][54]
The beauty of it is that you can save your character- and we already have some of those features available- and load them; and in the future we want people to be able to share those characters amongst each other.[43]Margaret Krohn
  • The ability to undo changes (Ctrl + Z) will be supported, including undoing changes that were made several edits earlier.[55][56]
  • Choosing base idle animations of characters will be possible in future.[57]
    • Certain animations, such as blinking, will be present when they don't interfere with the customization process.[58]
  • Certain ability sound effects will adhere to character customization selections, such as race.[59]
  • Adjusting the background scene and lighting is a planned feature.[58]
There's going to be a lot of environmental controls that are offered to the character creator so that people can set it up their scene the way they want to grab screenshots or to grab recordings or whatever they want to do.[60]Steven Sharif
  • Asymmetry in terms of manipulating different components of the body or different body features such as hair, beard, and eyes.[61]
Asymmetry is going to be functionality that's possible in manipulating either different components of the body or different features like hair. The beard we saw a little bit of that blending with highlights that you can do. Margaret talked a little bit about the eye asymmetry that you can include. Obviously those are going to exist within certain parameters that we want to define on a per-race basis, but it is something that we think is cool.[61]Steven Sharif
  • Body adornments, such as piercings will be possible within cultural limits.[62]
  • The developers are considering whether to allow custom tattoos to be uploaded by users.[63]

The aim is for the character creator to be on par if not much better than that of BDO.[64][65]

Character appearance

Facial adjustments in the Alpha-2 character creator (first pass).[66]

There is a great variation that's going to be available from a character standpoint when creating your character, especially around the face. Whether it be the shape of the jawline, the cheeks, the ears, the nose, the lips. You know we want to provide a lot of options and an agency to the player to customize their character appearance.[67]Steven Sharif

Character appearance can be customized in the character creator (CC)[69] and via in-game salons/barbershops.[53][70]

We want there to be a lot of room for people to manifest their own identity, to role play how they want to from an appearance standpoint. There's going to be parameters within which you will be able to customize a character. We want the culture and the identity of the races to exist in a range that makes them easily identifiable from other players and other cultures. So, because of that, we have to have a spectrum you can exist on. There will be a lot of hair variants you can do, body art tattoos that you can apply. You'll be able to play with the scales of the facial structure, the bones, the height, width, the body fat percentage. You'll be able to add body hair on different parts of the body. If you want to have hair on your feet, you can dial that up.[71]Steven Sharif
  • Character models are focused on realism.[72]
  • A player will see a generic character before customization.[73]
  • Character designs will have influences from a wide range of cultures, such as European, African and Asian.[74]
  • Lolis will not be in the game.[75][76]
  • Sliders and other controls, such as color palettes, will offer flexibility in customization but there will be limits based on race, gender, and the artistic style guidelines that the developers are adhering to.[77][78][75][79][80]
There's going to be constraints to the sliders, so that was one of those big questions as work began on the character creator: How much agency do you want to allow pulling like the lower lip all the way down in this weird deformed look, or having like [an] offset cheek that's just asymmetrical to the side of the face. There's not going to be the ability or agency to create those types of weird character things. However you will have the ability to move, slide, change, grow, decrease all those components, but they'll be kept in a more reasonable and presented way in the same sense you won't be able to change the appearance of the dwarven, nor the Dünir or the Niküan races to, in my opinion, create what would be traditionally considered a Loli character.[75]Steven Sharif

Character sculpting

Sculpting in the Alpha-2 character creator (first pass).[81]

Clayton and I tag-teamed on this one. We really wanted to give players that feeling that they were grabbing and pulling and sculpting their own character; especially with more minute details. I mean, it would have been easy to give character- players 100 sliders, but it feels better to have a much more tactile response, like clicking and dragging and pulling all these points around.[82]Zachary Mallet

Sculpting micro adjustments with the Alpha-2 character creator (first pass).[52]

Zach mentioned how much variation we achieve through the customization features. A lot of that is achieved through what Steven is playing with right now: with these dots that are appearing; and the reason why those are dots instead of the little plates that you see highlighted on the character is because these are actually changing the shape of the character's features altogether. Plates are used for moving things around and it sort of maps exactly to your input; and that's why that pick map or the plates feel so nice. Then you can click on those dots and drag those around and actually change the shape of a feature altogether.[52]Clayton Stamper

Sculpting provides the ability to customize different segments of any part of the body in the character creator.[81]

  • Plates are used for moving features around.[52]
  • Dots are use to change the shape of the character's features altogether.[52]


  • Adjusting the length and proportions of limbs.[81][83]
  • Sizes of calves and thighs.[81][83]
  • Adjustments will allow a character to appear more feminine or masculine.[84]

Character blending

Blending in the Alpha-2 character creator (first pass).[51]

This is more of a large scale macro tool that you can select a couple of presets and then you can get certain features from one preset or different features from a another preset. So you place down your presets and then you can click and drag and morph between those different presets.[51]Zachary Mallet

Character blending allows the combination of two or more presets from the character creator. It allows users to click and drag to morph between the different presets to create customized characters without spending time adjusting each angle of every body part.[51]


Unreal Engine 5 videos

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Video, December 23, 2021 (0:00).
  2. Livestream, December 23, 2021 (19:59).
  3. unreal.jpg
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Livestream, December 23, 2021 (40:53).
  5. Livestream, December 23, 2021 (50:50).
  6. Livestream, December 23, 2021 (49:39).
  7. Livestream, December 23, 2021 (42:09).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Livestream, December 23, 2021 (55:32).
  9. Video, December 23, 2021 (23:53).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Livestream, December 23, 2021 (54:00).
  11. 11.0 11.1 Livestream, December 23, 2021 (52:52).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Video, December 23, 2021 (2:54).
  13. Livestream, December 23, 2021 (52:58).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Livestream, October 31, 2023 (1:37:17).
  15. 15.0 15.1 Livestream, May 3, 2017 (26:50).
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Livestream, December 23, 2021 (47:51).
  17. Livestream, January 28, 2022 (7:26).
  18. Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:10:30).
  19. Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:14:41).
  20. Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:07:46).
  21. steven-ue5.jpg
  22. Livestream, April 7, 2023 (1:21:29).
  23. 23.0 23.1 Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:27:15).
  24. Livestream, December 17, 2019 (51:20).
  25. steven-networking.png
  26. Livestream, December 23, 2021 (1:10:09).
  27. RTX3070clarification.png
  28. Livestream, December 23, 2021 (1:08:42).
  29. Livestream, September 24, 2021 (52:48).
  30. alpha-1-fps.png
  31. 31.0 31.1 Livestream, April 28, 2023 (1:03:41).
  32. Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:07:12).
  33. 33.0 33.1 Livestream, August 17, 2018 (1:07:51).
  34. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (54:10).
  35. Livestream, November 22, 2019 (1:08:05).
  36. steven-a1-stress-test.png
  37. Livestream, March 26, 2021 (12:34).
  38. 38.0 38.1 What are the minimum and recommend computer specifications for Alpha Two?
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 Livestream, December 23, 2021 (48:45).
  40. 40.0 40.1 Livestream, May 26, 2017 (38:30).
  41. Livestream, May 24, 2017 (23:50).
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Livestream, July 29, 2022 (16:49).
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Video, March 31, 2022 (34:16).
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 Video, March 31, 2022 (18:47).
  45. Video, March 31, 2022 (19:14).
  46. Video, March 31, 2022 (0:00).
  47. 47.0 47.1 steven-cc-metahuman.png
  48. vaknar-cc-options.png
  49. 49.0 49.1 Livestream, June 30, 2017 (09:43).
  50. Livestream, May 8, 2017 (48:49).
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 Video, March 31, 2022 (29:14).
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 52.4 Video, March 31, 2022 (16:23).
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 Livestream, April 29, 2022 (5:05).
  54. Livestream, May 24, 2017 (28:22).
  55. Ashes of Creation Reddit - Ctrl + Z in the Character Creator (1).
  56. Ashes of Creation Reddit - Ctrl + Z in the Character Creator (2).
  57. Livestream, January 28, 2022 (39:30).
  58. 58.0 58.1 Livestream, March 31, 2022 (56:40).
  59. Livestream, March 29, 2024 (1:54:44).
  60. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
  61. 61.0 61.1 Livestream, March 31, 2022 (58:47).
  62. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (59:36).
  63. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:01:08).
  64. Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:11:52).
  65. character creator BDO.png
  66. Video, March 31, 2022 (13:47).
  67. Livestream, April 30, 2020 (46:51).
  68. Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:01:00).
  69. Livestream, May 8, 2017 (47:35).
  70. Livestream, May 15, 2017 (51:19).
  71. Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (13:39).
  72. Livestream, June 30, 2017 (11:21).
  73. Livestream, June 30, 2017 (10:04).
  74. Livestream, June 30, 2017 (12:39).
  75. 75.0 75.1 75.2 Podcast, September 29, 2021 (18:19).
  76. Lollis.jpg
  77. Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:00:14).
  78. Video, March 31, 2022 (9:23).
  79. Livestream, April 30, 2020 (1:10:46).
  80. Livestream, June 30, 2017 (13:13).
  81. 81.0 81.1 81.2 81.3 Video, March 31, 2022 (15:21).
  82. Video, March 31, 2022 (15:40).
  83. 83.0 83.1 Livestream, January 28, 2022 (59:48).
  84. Livestream, May 22, 2017 (54:32).